Chapter

Genealogies: Jacob Declines and Esau Prospers (35:21–37:1)

Thomas L. Brodie

in Genesis as Dialogue

Published in print September 2001 | ISBN: 9780195138368
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199834037 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0195138368.003.0034
Genealogies: Jacob Declines and Esau Prospers (35:21–37:1)

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The following two texts consist essentially of genealogies – the shrunken genealogy of Jacob (Genesis 35:21–29) and the expansive genealogy of his old nemesis, Esau (36:1–37:1). The brevity of Jacob's genealogy seems to be explained by its opening: the incest of Jacob's eldest son, Reuben, with Jacob's concubine, Bilhah – an event which would have undermined the father. Jacob hears, but does nothing and says nothing. (He acts on it when he is dying, 49:3–4). For the moment, he is diminished, and his genealogy reflects it. (In better circumstances, his genealogy is longer, 46:8–27).

Keywords: Bilhah; Esau; genealogies; genealogy; Genesis; incest; Jacob; Reuben

Chapter.  1613 words. 

Subjects: Biblical Studies

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